In Your Midst
Countdown to 2000 in Color and Light
Winter 1999

A Preview of the book cover
A poem by Emma Lux, a member of Schola Cantorum and an altar server, daughter of Glenn Lux and Nancy Zylstra, sister of Hannah.
The light shines in the darkness,
And the darkness does not overcome it. - John 1:5

Our faith is filled with light. Images of light grow in our prayers and stories. The play of light through stained glass radiates through our great cathedrals. We talk of overcoming darkness, of moving into light.

St. James Cathedral chose to honor the dawning of the third millennium with a celebration of light. Co-designed by Jon Gierlich and Jeff Robbins of Cornish College of the Arts, the Millennium Lighting Project remembers the past and anticipates the future through nightly displays of brilliant color and light on the Cathedral's west fašade.

"It's not so much architectural lighting as art," Robbins and Gierlich say. "We are treating the west fašade of the Cathedral as if it were canvas; instead of paint, we use light. Through color, shape, form and texture, we hope to create an artistically arresting set of images which allude both to architecture and to ritual."

Unlike traditional building illuminations, light not only shines on the building from below, but streams out of the tower windows. The light will serve as a literal reminder of the church's role in the community as a source of light and sanctuary. It will seek to catch our attention, to call us within.

The countdown to 2000 began on October 24, 1999, with the first of 20 designs recalling the past 20 centuries. During the next two weeks the Cathedral underwent a startling transformation, as gold highlights on the towers deepened to red, and then to violet. The designs change every three days becoming progressively more complex as the countdown continues to December 24, 1999. The Millennium Lighting Project will continue into early 2001, with new designs marking major feast days and liturgical events.

Conceived as a way to respond to Mayor Paul Schell's Legacy Lighting Project, the illumination of the Cathedral calls attention to the presence of the Church in the heart of the city. The lighting project is underwritten Lease Crutcher Lewis and Pioneer Masonry Restoration Co.

Mary Bourguignon is a parishioner and religious education volunteer at St. James Cathedral.

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